Poetry is a way of renewing what words actually mean.
This, from Susannah Herbert, director of the Forward Arts Foundation, encapsulates a quality of poetry that I love.
Writing poetry can sometimes feel like looking through a telescope backwards, stretching something out as far as it can go and then poring over it intensely, endlessly – until, feverishly, you push your thoughts into three stanzas and a rhyme. When it’s finally written, it feels fresh, new: a different refraction of light that you hadn’t considered before.
This month on Dear Damsels has been full of poetry. We’re always intrigued when an abundance of one type of writing appears in our inbox in response to a theme. What is it about that subject that inspires poetry, specifically, in so many writers?
March’s theme has been PROMISE. A big, capacious word. It brings to mind expectations, heartbreak, large dreams and small achievements. It covers a lot of ground – but, inherently, it has a lot to do with trust.
I think we worry about trust. It’s heavy, a lock and key, something weighty and golden and hard to come by, nowadays. We can’t trust the words we hear. We can’t trust the people in power. We can’t even trust our phones.
A lot of the poems we’ve shared this month have been about searching for that trust elsewhere – in other people, in the changing seasons and even in ourselves. All of these poems, in their own way, have renewed what trust and promises mean to us. And that’s a pretty remarkable thing to achieve in four stanzas.
Poetry can be intentional. It can be accidental. But it is always deliberate, coming from a need to address something, to find something, to pin something down on paper and write it all out until you are at peace with it.
Once it’s over, and the pen is down, you can step back and take a look at what you have revealed. And then, hopefully, share.
We hope you’ll keep sharing your revelations with us for a while to come.
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